Cancer from exposure to electricity – can you spell “class action”?

Note the very high Odds Ratios in association with E-field exposure

1: Am J Ind Med. 2000 Jun;37(6):607-17.

Leukemia in electric utility workers: the evaluation of alternative indices of exposure to 60 Hz electric and magnetic fields.

Villeneuve PJ, Agnew DA, Miller AB, Corey PN, Purdham JT.

Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. pvillene@uottawa.ca

BACKGROUND: Epidemiological studies have inconsistently demonstrated a positive relationship between magnetic and/or electric fields and leukemia. Although exposure to both 60 Hz electric and magnetic fields can be characterized in many ways, to date, risk assessment has been performed by using only a limited number of exposure indices. METHODS: The associations between adult leukemia and indices of electric and magnetic fields were explored within a nested case-control study of 31,453 Ontario electric utility workers. RESULTS: The percentage of time spent above electric field thresholds of 20 and 39 V/m was predictive of leukemia risk after adjusting for duration of employment and the arithmetic mean exposure to both electric and magnetic fields (P<0.05). Duration of employment was strongly associated with an increased risk of leukemia. Those who had worked for at least 20 years, and were in the highest tertiles of percentage of time spent above 10 and 20 V/m had odds ratios of 10.17 (95% CI = 1.58-65.30) and 8.23 (95% CI = 1. 24-54.43), respectively, when compared to those in the lowest tertile. Nonsignificant elevations in risk were observed between indices of magnetic fields and leukemia. CONCLUSIONS: Our results support the hypothesis that electric fields act as a promoting agent in the etiology of adult leukemia. Exposure assessment based on alternate indices of electric and magnetic fields should be incorporated into future occupational studies of cancer. Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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